Our second home game saw BJF/Aston Villa arrive at the Grammar School – albeit half of them were disappointingly rather late. Fortunately they arrived just as the first game finished, enabling all six pairs to then play more or less continuously in order to get the games finished.
Once again we gave the opposition some good games but as at TP Riley-Norton, there were always a few more errors and cheap points given away than gained. Despite this uphill battle, we still managed to go into the last two games with a chance at 4-3 down. However it wasn’t to be, the match petering out to a final 6-3 loss.
Tuesday night was our first match of the new season – rather earlier than we normally start – but necessary so we could fit all the games in.
The Mens 1 travelled away to play TP Riley-Norton, which is never an easy prospect, particularly after having been promoted up to Division 1 last season. The end result was a 7-2 loss but with three of the other rubbers going to a third game, we did have some chances to make it closer. Sadly the lack of match practice seemed to cause a few more errors – if we can reduce those it would make it so much easier!
So a slightly disappointing start – while it was unlikely we could have nicked the result, a closer result would have been nice, but it showed we’re not too far off the level we need to be playing at. Next up later this week is our first Thursday night home game, with the Mixed 1 hosting Hamstead Manor.
As we moved into April, so the end of the season looms. The last two matches for the Mens 1 were the two ties against Cannock – the Monday before Easter at home, with the return leg on the Tuesday after Easter. And after the loss to BJF, we needed to win both to claim the title and promotion to Division One.
The home tie saw some long games as both sides battled for the result. Eventually the stubborn resistance was overcome and we ran out 7-2 winners. Last night’s away tie saw a return to playing with plastics and some unexpected difficulties in some of the rubbers. Having got to a 4-1 lead there was a brief wobble that looked like it might come down to the last two games. But consistency eventually won out, resulting in a final score of 6-3 and promotion – with a celebratory curry afterwards!
The Mens 1 travelled to Alumwell on 22 March to play promotion rivals BJF. A good test is always to be expected, especially as they still play with plastic shuttles. Unfortunately we didn’t seem to adapt too well in a somewhat lacklustre display, leading to a 7-2 loss.
That leaves us needing to win our two remaining fixtures (both against Cannock) to finish ahead of BJF for promotion to Division 1. However the standard will have to improve to give us a chance, and if we do go up next season the games will only get harder.
With February drawing to a close, there have been three matches in fairly quick succession. Tuesday 21st saw our Mens 1 away at TP Riley-Norton 2. With Matt out injured, Richard stepped in to fill the gap. As usual with matches against TPRN, there were plenty of close games – the usual two-hour match time eventually extending closer to two and three-quarters! However it ended up as a 7-2 win so the long night was well worth it.
Friday 24th brought TPRN to us for a Mixed match. With four of the first eight games needing a decider, the match over-ran and we had to concede the last match due to a lack of time. Unfortunately however there was nothing riding on it, with the result having already been decided, and so it ended as a 7-2 loss.
Then on Monday 27th the Mixed were in action again against Reedswood 2, our closest rivals in the division, but with three changes meaning each pair was different. Once again tight games were the order of the day and another four games went to a decider. Thankfully time was not an issue though and our increasing strength in depth shone through, with the final result a great 7-2 win which probably ensures our place in Division 1!
The Mens 1 team were away at Hamstead Manor on Friday and looking to extend their unbeaten run. A tight match came down to the last rubber, but unfortunately on this occasion it wasn’t quite enough, going to three but losing the decider. So the 4-5 result was the first loss of the season, but hopefully it won’t affect our push for promotion to Division 1.
Tonight was the first match of the New Year for our Mens 1 team, away at local rivals Tiki 2. Not only was a little rustiness on show, but injury had also struck resulting in the first substitution of the season. Many thanks to Paul for stepping in for the injured Marcus and rolling back the years!
Sadly that was not the only injury to affect the match – one of the Tiki players was unable to complete the match, the after effects of a recent infection taking their toll. Clearly his health is more important, so the decision to stop was very sensible and we hope he fully recovers soon.
The match ended up as a 6-3 win, Tiki’s first pair having held out to beat each of our pairs, but this perhaps doesn’t reflect how close some of the other games were to making it a rather closer result.
After the victory against Tiki 2, we welcomed Reedswood 2 on Monday. In the end it was another convincing win, but one aspect still lingered – no sooner had Jay and Matt lost their first game against Tiki, than another one slipped by in this 8-1 result!
So that makes it six matches played and six matches won. Now to keep it going for the second half of the season…
Monday 5th saw the much-anticipated Mens 1 match against the team who came down from Division 1 last year – and our local rivals – Tiki 2. However any fears of a tight, tense game were somewhat misplaced, with the match rather more one way than expected with an end result of 7-2. There was, however, sufficient opposition to take a game off our only previously-unbeaten pair – bringing an end to a certain amount of bragging!
The fourth match of the season for the Mens 1 was on a cold, damp Tuesday evening. Reedswood 2 were also our fourth different opponents so far, having been promoted from Division 3 last year. These are the sort of games we need to dominate if we want to do well this season, and we duly imposed ourselves to record our second 9-0 sweep of the season.